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New York should learn what not to do from Venice

The city's excellent mayor needs to be made aware of the incompetence so far as the protection of Venice from the waters is concerned

New York'm Mayor Bloomberg (centre left) meets Venice's Mayor Orsoni

My breath has been taken away by the news that Mayor Orsoni has been in New York this week to meet Mayor Bloomberg to share ideas about how to deal with climate change.

I hope New York's excellent mayor will be made aware that this is the tally of incompetence so far as the protection of Venice from the waters is concerned:

• nearly 40 years since the much needed mobile flood barrier scheme was announced, expected to be finished in 2012, then 2014, now 2016;

• decades of vicious political wrangling over whether to to build them or not;

• near doubling of their cost to €5.9 billion (at present estimate);

• total lack of transparency on the part of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova, the group of Italian companies to whom the building of the barriers was delegated by government, about the problems they encountered while building the barriers, and all aspects of accounting;

• the president and six members of the board of the Consorzio Venezia Nuova currently under house arrest, charged with collusive tendering and false invoicing, and two directors of the firm that is making the hinges of the barriers arrested for similar practices with the firm of a Mafia boss, Ciccio La Rocca;

• no plan for how the future maintenance of the mobile barriers is going to be managed and financed;

• no organisation with clearly defined powers to plan the protection of Venice from chronic sea level rise, a separate problem from the acute flooding events.

I sincerely hope that Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York will observe Orsoni and the Venice experience to learn how not to do it.

Anna Somers Cocks, former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund

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Comments

5 Nov 13
20:18 CET

IACOPO MATTIA PEROZZI, MEXICO CITY

The problem with Venice are endless, unfortunately there is something more that just the water problem, they have realized many structures, but Venice isn't in a open-sea as NY, and it's also in a laggon, so there won't be a great comparition between both cities. Venice, unfortunately, has a lot to due in many directions, with big boats that strees the framework of the city and etc...

24 Oct 13
19:44 CET

MYRA ROBINSON, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Another excellent article. I acknowledged as a source in my recent article in Italy Magazine (no Grandi Navi) but they failed to put in the footnote. Sorry

21 Oct 13
18:6 CET

JUNRUH, NEW YORK

Not to worry. Mayor Bloomberg will be moving on soon, much to the relief of many NYers. I assume that this article is intended to draw attention to the issues in Venice? I initially thought it was about biennale. Perhaps the title should be edited.

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